Separatists hold key to Kashmir peace mission After Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare faces the heat
VALLEY IN TURMOIL No clarity yet on Hurriyat participation as Oppn reaches out
Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti invited Hurriyat leaders on Saturday for talks with an all-party delegation headed to the Valley, asking separatist leaders to lend “credence and credibility” to the outreach by India’s political leadership.
Ahead of the visit on Sunday, the Centre approved a chilli-based shell as an alternative to the controversial pellet guns, blamed for causing eye injuries to civilians.
Mufti’s letter to separatists came in the backdrop of hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, refusing to meet the delegation if New Delhi doesn’t accept the political nature of the Kashmir dispute.
Mufti sent the invitation “in her capacity as the PDP chief ”, indicating that its coalition partner BJP is out of the process to involve separatists for a dialogue to defuse the most volatile phase in the Valley since 2010.
Seventy three people, most of them civilians, have been killed in street violence sparked by the gunning down of a militant leader by security forces on July 8. “This Curfew has been imposed in some parts of Srinagar again.
will be the start of a credible and meaningful dialogue and resolution process to end the stalemate,” Mufti said in her letter.
Sources said back-channel talks led by CPI (M) legislator MY Tarigami are also on to convince Geelani to meet the team if they come to his house—as it happened
in 2010. “If they agree, we are ready to meet them at their residences (in Srinagar),” CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.
In Delhi, during a briefing for the delegation members, home minister Rajnath Singh was, however, non-committal when many leaders demanded that the Centre invite the Hurriyat for talks during the two-day visit. A source quoted Singh as saying during the meeting that the main challenge before the government during the crisis was the “use of the social media and militants hiding with civilian mobs to attack security forces.”
The probe into the multi-crore irrigation scam picked up pace on Saturday, when the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) filed its third First Information Report (FIR) on the Konkan projects — this one on the Kondhane dam. It also filed a first charge sheet in a Vidarbha project - the Ghodzari canal tender of the Gosikhurd dam.
In the complaint regarding the Kondhane dam in Raigad, the role of former water resources minister Sunil Tatkare is now under the direct ambit of investigation. Tatkare was the minister when the project was cleared in 2011. This dam saw a massive cost escalation — from Rs56 crore to Rs328 crore — after its height was increased by 32 meters. This was within one month of the tender being given to FA Enterprises. While the FIR does not name Tatkare, a senior home department official told HT the minister’s role in granting approval and the cost hike of the project will be investigated.
India’s financial crime investigating agency on Saturday took possession of assets worth more than Rs6,500 crore of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the second such action against the businessman once known as a “king of good times”.
The assets attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) include a farmhouse near Mumbai, residential properties in Bangalore, shares and fixed deposits, an ED official said.